When it comes to retainers, there is a lot of information out there that could skew your perception of them.
As your dentist, Dr. Stephanie Busch-Abbate and her team want to help clear the air so you’ll know about your retainer. From how long you should wear it, to proper cleaning practices.
A retainer helps retain the alignment of your teeth after they’ve been positioned from braces or clear aligners. Retainers do not align teeth or correct improper alignment, they just help maintain positioning.
The name makes a lot of sense now, right?
A retainer is a necessary step after braces or ClearCorrect®, otherwise, all the time and patience of your alignment therapy could be lost. Your teeth want to slowly return to their original position so retainers help prevent relapse.
You should clean your retainer regularly just like you do your teeth.
Think about it…if a retainer sits in your mouth it’s going to collect the same things that build up on your teeth: plaque and tartar.
Be sure to clean your retainer daily with a cleaning solution like Efferdent or soap and water. Do not use toothpaste as a cleaner for your retainer because it can be abrasive.
Not everyone will have the same type of retainer. These are the most common retainers:
- The Essix (Clear) Retainer: This retainer fits over your teeth like a shell. It’s clear so you can barely notice it!
- The Hawley Retainer: These retainers have an acrylic palate piece that rests on your palate with a metal wire that wraps around your teeth. For those needing a Hawley Retainer, there are a lot of color options you can choose from to make it more personal to you.
- The Bonded Retainer: This is a retainer that doesn’t get removed from your mouth unless your dentist is changing it. The bonded retainer is a metal wire that gets secured with a dental adhesive to the back of your teeth.
- Night Guards: Not a directly related retainer option, but a night guard is something that can help if you’re suffering from “Bruxism” — the case where you grind your teeth at night. A custom made night guard can act as both a retainer and protect the teeth from bruxism.
- Partial Denture: This variation can fall in the retainer category if you’re missing a permanent tooth. A retainer can be made to hold in a replacement tooth and keep your other teeth from closing in on the gap.
As your dentist, we’ll make sure you get a retainer that fits your needs best to keep you smiling.
A retainer is something you’ll have to wear for life, otherwise, your teeth will shift back to their original state. But, the amount of wear time each day/week may vary.
Initially, after your orthodontic treatment, you’ll have to wear your retainer around the clock (minus when eating!) Eventually, the amount of wear time for your retainer becomes less and is directed by your dentist.
It’s important to wear your retainer as scheduled to prevent your teeth from displacement. If you lose or break your retainer you should contact your dentist immediately to get a new one. This is to make sure your teeth haven’t shifted too much and require further treatment.
Need more Dental Knowledge?
Check out our blog page where we post tons of content. If you’re in need of clear aligner braces, or a new retainer, feel free to request an appointment online or by phone at (269) 381-3890 so we can help provide you with the smile you want. As your dentist, Dr. Stephanie Busch-Abbate is here to help you smile confidently.